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SusieLarson051

Hello, Friends!

Susie Larson here…

I post on the fourth Thursday of every month and I’m thankful to share this time with you. Last month I shared the story of how I got my start in speaking. This month I want us to take a closer look behind the scenes.

In the fall and spring seasons, I travel about three weekends out of four. During the winter months, I drop back to only one or two weekend events per month. Often, as I’m out and about, women share with me how they feel sure God has called them to become a conference speaker. I think that’s wonderful! The world is full of hurting, desperate people and there is enough work to go around for all of us.

Humble Yourself…

I do know from experience, and from talking with many other speakers, that when God takes us to a mountain top and points out our promised land, He then takes us down into the valley of preparation. It’s in that place where God deals with the inconsistencies in our character, the fears that might hold us back, and the fleshly ambition that may potentially drive us forward, ahead of God.

Of course, we can check out of the valley, and forge our own path. Lots of people do it. And what’s the result? Inferior fruit, sometimes plastic fruit; unprepared character, sometimes moral failure; quick advancement, sometimes followed by a ministry that fizzles to drizzle. If we really want to last long and finish strong, we must be willing to humble ourselves in the valley of preparation. God only wants to extract from us that which the enemy would love to use against us, later, when we least expect it.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:6).

As we move along in our speaking career, God will continue His refining work within us, to remind of us who is in charge and of how much we need Him. If we stay humble and teachable in His hand, He can use us to change the world! Don’t be afraid of the humbling, refining times. My pastor always says, “The depths of His dealings correspond with the height of His calling!”

Hone Your Craft…

The more I learn, the less I know. I’m sure you feel that way too, sometimes. I’m forever amazed that God entrusts us highly imperfect people with His priceless message. He knows we are a work in progress, that we’ll take the credit sometimes, that we’ll be broken one day and be braggarts the next, and still, He considers it a pleasure to use us! Amazing, no?

I used to despair over how far I had to go to become a polished communicator. Now I simply embrace the grace for the day. I wrap my arms around what I know today and I convey His message with all of the passion He gives me, trusting that as I trust in Him, and apply myself to the craft of communicating, I’ll be a better communicator next week. 🙂

Here a few things I learned that may help you refine your message:

  • Determine your left hook: What’s your end-all takeaway? Start there, at the end. And work your way backwards. Keep your message focused, like an arrow pointing to your ‘takeaway’ target. 
  • Use story: Don’t go too long in your message without the use of a compelling story and life application for your audience. With writing and speaking, story is king! 
  • Impart don’t relay: Make sure that what you are speaking about comes from your soul, where you’ve lived. When you speak out of your convictions, your encounters with God, and your experiences, you impart life. When you use somebody else’s material, you simply relay information (and the life blood of the message gets lost in the process). 
  • Be you: Stay away from the need to appear smarter than you are, or more spiritual than you are. People can spot a phony or a wannabe a mile away.
  • Be real: Make sure you reveal some of your own areas of need (“I’m a terrible cook” or, “Plants come to my house to die.”). These are desperate times and the days of the ‘picture perfect speaker persona’ are way over (actually, that idea has always nauseated me).  People need the real deal. They want to relate to their speaker. (A little caveat here: Too much self-deprecating will most certainly backfire. If you’re not an expert in your field, people will wonder how you got the gig). 

Becoming a speaker is a grueling, wonderful, refining, faith-stretching sort of call. But if you’re called to it, you won’t want to be anywhere else.

I hope this information helps you along the way.

Until next month~

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14 Thoughts on “Humble Yourself and Hone Your Craft

  1. great information! how do you always know to talk about things I need to hear? it can only be the Holy Spirit!

  2. Mary Aucoin Kaarto on September 24, 2009 at 6:15 PM said:

    Hello,
    As a newly published author and guest speaker, you cannot possibly know how much I needed to “hear” this. I feel so inadequate and scared when talking in front of people, yet know that God has called me to minister to those who are laid off and hurting. Thank you so much for your wisdom and encouragement.
    Mary Aucoin Kaarto
    http://www.marykaarto.com

  3. Hello, I met with Gail today on facebook, she told me, she belongs to a group call CAN. They love to support indepents when they can. I’m in FT Lauderdale, FL, I wondering if we can plan the next event at my store. Please help, I really need your help. Thanks, May God richly bless this Association!
    Blessings,
    Stanley Stlouis

  4. Wow, Elisa’beth,
    That’s a great compliment! Thank you so much. God bless you!

  5. Dear Mary,
    Thanks for taking the time to post your comment. It’s always helpful to know when our posts serve a good purpose. Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone, into the ‘unknown zone’ because God has called you to speak and encourage others. You will be rewarded for your faith, blessed to be a blessing, and equipped along the way. Blessings to you!

  6. Dear Stanley,
    I put your request out on our CAN loop. I’m from the Midwest but I’m pretty sure we’ve got some CANners in the Ft. Lauderdale area. May God richly bless your store in every way. Read Psalm 112; it’ll encourage you in light of the times. 🙂

  7. Susie – I always enjoy reading your blog and books and have had God speak to me as I’ve listened to you! Tonight I’m grateful for hearing your words on this topic as well. You see tomorrow I will attend my first “Meet the Author/Book Signing event” with my soon to be released book on spiritual mentoring. Honestly I thought tonight I’d be more nervous, but actually I am completely humbled. It truly is amazing to think of God using me, anyway thanks for your words and encouragement tonight. BLessings to you, Jill

  8. Susan,
    that was one of the best words about preparation and humility I’ve ever read. It really blessed me. I’m linking it on my FB page. Thanks!

  9. Hi Susie,
    When I first began speaking, I was asked to speak at a conference. Scared…yes, but sure of God’s call. It was then that a well known speaker who had not been asked to speak at the conference, gazed at me and “accidentally” blurted out, “YOU?”
    That “YOU?” was like a dagger through my heart. I had so much respect for this woman that she had to be right, I had no business speaking at such an event. That comment became a brief stumbling block, until God sweetly reminded me that He had called me to this task and that I should be thankful that she was baffled by how God was choosing to use me.
    For 18 years, that “You?” has been a constant reminder that in me dwells no good thing. That apart from Christ, I can accomplish nothing, but through Christ there’s nothing I can’t accomplish.
    May the world continue to look at my life and say, “You?” for that is where my Lord is glorified most.
    Thanks so much for the sweet reminder.

  10. Dear Jill,
    Congratulations on your book signing! I am thrilled for you. May God continue to wow you with His grace and favor. Enjoy every victory; the big ones and the small ones. Bless you, dear sister!

  11. Dear Stephanie,
    Way to turn a thoughtless comment into a humble reminder to stay close to the Vine. You must be an uncommon woman! 🙂
    I love your takeaway from that encounter. I hope everyone that visits this blog reads your post. Absolutely beautiful.
    Be blessed, my friend.

  12. Wow Susie this was so good for me today. Thanks for the link from Facebook! 2 years ago I went to the “She Speaks Conference” put on by Proverbs 31 ministries. It was there that I felt clear that God was indeed calling me to speak to women.
    I can totally relate to being in a season of preparedness. This past year and 1/2 has been the hardest, most stretching, yet most faith strengthening of my life. I am more in love with Jesus than ever before! He has called be to a level of obedience that I’ve never been at before too.
    Like you, I have been a fitness instructor for 3 years. I loved it, especially the women I was teaching but in the past week I’ve realized that I needed to quit. It was a painful process – coming to realize this but as always HE is here and oh so faithful!
    Today I told my class that I am quitting. It was hard but it was also an opportunity to proclaim His name!
    What I’ve realized is that I was doing a “good” thing but it wasn’t His best for me. I want to be open and available for His best!! It is exciting, difficult, scary, and amazing – this life with Him!
    I look forward to reading more of your posts here. Thanks Susie!

  13. Jami,
    Your story does sound like mine! In fact, when I stepped down from teaching fitness classes I knew I was giving up the ‘good’ for the best. And not long after, doors opened up and fresh perspective came. There’s no better place to be than in the center of His will! It’s been fun connecting with you online. Blessings on you and your call to ministry!

  14. Amen to that! I just want to walk with Him wherever He leads! Thanks for your encouragement!

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